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Submitted by sean.lindsay1 on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:01am

2019 - 20 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

The CIH Interdisciplinary Working Groups aim to bring together faculty and graduate students from different disciplines to explore common research interests and to encourage collaborative research projects. Groups must be convened by at least two individuals from different departments, and must agree to meet at least three times a term. Ideally, membership in the group should be open, and initial meetings should be publicized to attract diverse participants. Meetings can be used for the presentation of work in progress, for the discussions of texts and scholarship, or to pursue a common research project. Our Working Groups also add to research and learning opportunities by arranging for guest speakers, hosting symposia and workshops, building public exhibitions, and hiring student research assistants. Individuals interested in participating in the activities of a group should view the detailed description about the group and contact the group's conveners directly. IWG lectures and workshops that are open to the public will be shown on our events page.

This year the CIH will support seven Interdisciplinary Working Groups:

Classics, Religion, Anthropology and Archaeology (Returning, 2nd Year)

CRAIG (Classics, Religious Studies, Anthropology and Archaeology Inter-disciplinary Group) aims to bring together researchers from diverse fields to form constructive academic collaboration through various activities. In the first year, CRAIG will provide a platform for interested individuals and specialists researching on aspects of digitization of heritage, while contemplating aspects of conservation and discussion on landscape studies and sacred geography. The invited guest lectures, workshops and discussion series is aimed at inter-disciplinary dialogue and reassessment of material culture across the world and extant literary source material from various cultures and belief systems. For more information or to contact the group's conveners, click here.

Energy in Society (Returning, 4th Year)

The “Energy In Society” (EIS) interdisciplinary working group was formed at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities in the fall of 2016 with the intent to create a community of energy scholars in the humanities and social sciences on campus. EIS wants to not only understand the nature of today’s energy challenges, but also to uncover the history and politics of certain assumptions we hold about energy. While in our first year we were focused on bringing scholarly guest speakers to provoke debate on the topic of energy, our second year at CIH was dedicated to creating collaborations amongst scholars and creating bridges to energy practitioners and natural scientists engaged in the project of energy transition. EIS is now in a critical position. We have completed much of the work to assemble a research agenda, identify research partners and collaborators, and develop a research infrastructure for energy in the humanities and social sciences at the U of C. In 2018-2019, it is therefore imperative for us to begin putting the agenda in action through grants, conferences and writing. Click here to find out more about Energy In Society or to contact the group's convenors.

Film Theory and Resistance in the 1960s and 1970s (New)

We propose to establish an interdisciplinary working group of researchers who are interested in reading “Film Theory and Resistance in the 1960s and 1970s”, and the relationship between politics and the representation of a radical opposition to commodification. The relevance of Film Theory in a global context will be a topic for discussion with a focus on the 1960s and 1970s. Issues and questions of interest so far identified refer to those Pasolini indicated as his central themes to develop on the then so called “Third World”. Inspired by his trips he would immerse himself in a plethora of different projects until the end of his life. In his 1968 Appunti per un poema sul Terzo Mondo he listed his recurrent themes: 1) the cultural clash between white and black civilizations in Africa; 2) nationalism in the Middle East; 3) South American guerrillas; 4) ‘dropping out’ in North American ghettos (racial segregation and self-exclusion, violence); 5) hunger (starvation) and religion in India.

Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group (New)

Food is much more than a source of energy. It is strongly interconnected with social organization, history, culture, politics, and is time and place specific. Many academic, governmental, civic, and economic stakeholders stress the necessity and urgency to change the dominant agri-food regime in response to environmental, health, justice, and ethical concerns. Food has also emerged as a mobilizing frame for social justice movements (i.e., food justice) and within human rights frameworks (i.e., the right to food), as well as for broader movements around the political economy of food (i.e., food sovereignty). Food is thus embedded in complex social, cultural, economic, and political relations. This calls for a closer inspection of our current ways of producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food and how this relates to overarching issues such as global economic integration, immigration, language and culture, welfare state transformation, the environmental crisis or the crisis of care work. Evidently, this requires an interdisciplinary approach. This CIH working group is a first step towards building and consolidating an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at the University of Calgary. For more information or to contact the group's conveners, click here.

Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Group (Returning, 2nd Year)

Scientific experimentation and industry application have run ahead of analysis in the social sciences and humanities, leaving gaps in our understanding of the social, political, and ethical implications of genomic and bioinformatics applications. The stakes could not be higher and the need for critical engagement more urgent. As science and technology studies scholar Sheila Jasanoff explains, “science exerts power in part by turning the myriad pathways for living that humanity has evolved over millennia into singular channels that have undeniable value for segments of the human community…but these ‘solutions’ may not speak to the fundamentals of the human condition, and they may err or produce unintended consequences through premature simplification.” (2019, 179) Genomic and bioinformatics technologies raise important questions about the risks, governance, and ownership of genetic resources. Find out more about this group and its conveners.

Intersection of Performance and Business (Returning, 3rd Year)

We propose to bring together performance and business researchers to create a stimulating debate around performance in the business world.  In monthly workshop-style meetings, we will explore specific rituals such as pitch competitions, brand building mega-events, and impression management in networking events.  The goal will be to broaden perspectives on where and how performance occurs, and to move towards new, theoretically-grounded insights into business performance. We invite faculty and students who are interested in participating to contact the co-organizers, Alice de Koning ( and Joy Palacios ( Click here for a detailed description.

Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine Studies (New)

This STEMS Working Group creates a space for researchers, students, and trainees from the University of Calgary and related institutions, interested in the social aspects of science, technology and medicine to interact and collaborate on exciting new initiatives. Science, technology, and medicine are usually seen as the main fields where contemporary societies place their hopes for a better future. However, as examples in the past and present have shown, science, technology and medicine have not always been used in completely positive ways (e.g. environmental issues, military conflicts, postcolonial dependencies, etc.), while the public’s relationship to innovations and scientific practices remains a complex issue. New inventions, discoveries, and theories have a significant impact on the way we understand the facts, products, and processes developed by past and recent scientists, engineers, and physicians. In a current political “post-factual climate,” it is absolutely vital to realize that this constantly changing field needs in-depth analyses and examinations to grasp the magnitude of today’s challenges. More complex science needs more in-depth humanities scholarship. Find out more about this working group and its conveners here.

Social Justice and the Smart City (Returning, 3rd Year)

The Social Justice and the Smart City working group focuses on cross-disciplinary inquiry into the social and environmental justice implications of smart city technologies, policies, and practices. Our goal is to support interdisciplinary research and facilitate the development of a scholarly community through reading groups, writing feedback, and guest speakers. Click here for a detailed description and contact information.

Vendler Group: Philosophy and Linguistics (Returning, 4th Year)

The Vendler Reading Group is an interdisciplinary group composed of faculty and graduate students from philosophy and linguistics. The group's main goal is to facilitate communication between researchers working on issues related to the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of natural languages. The group meets approximately once a month to discuss current research, work in progress by reading group members, and to host visiting scholars. Click here to read more about this year's focus for the Vendler Group on the Progressive.

Detailed descriptions of all of our 2018-2019 Interdisciplinary Working Groups will be updated to our website in August, 2018. In the mean time, if you would like to find out more about any of our groups or contact the co-conveners of the groups, please email

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